A reporter from our stables did an undercover investigation into the alleged corrupt activities of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company and below are the findings:
Last year, Samuel Etim, a businessman, applied for a pre-paid meter and luckily, his application was processed and the meter installed at his flat, located at Santos Layout in Akowonjo, Egbeda, Lagos.
Etim said he paid officially to the designated bank of Ikeja Electric, N38, 850, for a single-phase pre-paid meter and it was installed within two months.
He however confessed unknowingly that he “gave some money as bribe to some unnamed Ikeja Electric workers at Akowonjo Undertaking office to fast-track the entire process”.
His words: “It was after the account creation and set-up at the Akowonjo Undertaking office in Lagos, that I eventually made payments of the approved sum to the designated account of the electricity company, before my pre-paid meter was eventually installed”.
It could be recalled that Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC, came into being, November1, 2013, when Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, was handed over to IKEDC, with its headquarters at Ikeja, Lagos.
Today, Etim is singing the praises of Ikeja Electric, boasting to those who care to listen that the electricity company is doing a good job.
However, Mary Babajide, a banker is one person that is pissed off with what she described as the “monumental corruptions” that exist in various offices of the electricity company.
A resident of Yaba in Lagos, Babajide, lamented that since October last year, when she applied for a pre-paid meter for her 3-bedroom flat, located at Montgomery Street, Yaba, Lagos, some corrupt workers at the electricity company have been cooking up all sort of excuses, telling her to come today, come tomorrow in order to extort money from her.
According to her, “some of the workers could be trying to punish and frustrate her over her hard-line posture of not offering bribe under any form or guise to any of them”.
There are the likes of Etim and Babajide on both sides of the divide either commending or condemning Ikeja Electric on its services, daily.
However, investigations conducted by our under-cover reporter revealed that the four stages to acquiring pre-paid meter are: Know your customer, field survey, payment and meter installation.
For each of these stages, there are rooms for workers of the company to extort money from their customers in various parts of Lagos.
For instance, when our undercover reporter visited Oke-Odo Ikeja Electric Undertaking office at Abule Egba, Lagos, a female worker at the company asked this writer to visit: map.ikejaelectric.com, to register online.
She said for a first timer seeking for a pre-paid meter, the person has to visit any office of the electricity company nearest to him or her for documentation.
This, our investigations revealed is where the first contact point for extortions comes in as the applicant has to drop some money before his or her request either be granted or shelve aside, an insider said.
The persons is required to provide their residential or office address, email address, phone number; a federal government recognized identification card, one passport photograph, or a driving license, for his or her account to be created and set-up.
But, a worker at the Alagbado Undertaking office of Ikeja Electric said, “This is where the applicant could have to part with money as bribe or else, no dice.”
However, a worker at the Ilupeju Undertaking office alleges that for the account of the first timer to be processed and set-up on time, the person has to pay some money, ranging from N2000 to N10, 000 or more as tips outside the official payments.
If the persons fails to play ball, his or her application could be shelve aside, as the workers boasted that there are a thousand and one applicants waiting for their applications to be processed.
Some casual workers of the electricity company collect N20,000 or less as monthly salaries, but some of them own houses, cars and other choice properties, gotten from money extorted from customers, daily, an insider source said.
The field stage where the workers are expected to come to your compound, business, or office for inspection is another point for extortions, even as the company insist nobody should give money to any Ikeja Electric worker, it was revealed.
A single-phase prepaid meter cost N38, 850, while a 3-phase prepaid meter is N70, 350, value addedtax inclusive.
But, like Etim confessed, some applicants could pay up to N10,000 as bribe to ensure that they get pre-paid meter installed in their flats offices, or business outfits.
Ikeja Electric promise to deliver and install pre-paid meters to customers who have successfully gone through the four stages within 10 days.
But, as a male worker at the Ogba Undertaking office of the company, the reality is that some of its offices are still processing the applications of customers who applied last year, up to December.
When our reporter visited the headquarters of Ikeja Electric for official comment with the corporate affairs manager at Obafemi Awolowo Road, Alausa, Ikeja, on the monumental corruptions and extortions going on in the company, he was said not to be on seat.
An email sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org on the issue yesterday was not acknowledged or reply to as at the time of filling this report.